The words of Job are remarkable. He is here listing sins he did not commit, of which he was not guilty. Many professing Christians, however, could be guilty of these sins. “If I have kept the poor from their desire, or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or eaten my morsel by myself, so that the fatherless could not eat of it…” (Job 31:16–17).
Notice the three groups that Job listed: the poor, the widows, and the fatherless (or orphans). Job said, in essence, “If I have not done what I ought to have done for them, I am a sinner, and I have failed my basic obligations.” He went on,
(But from my youth I reared him as a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow); if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or any poor man without covering; if his heart has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, when I saw I had help in the gate; then let my arm fall from my shoulder, let my arm be torn from the socket. (verses 18–22)
Job did not fail to care for the people who had no food, clothing, or families to care for them. Then, he said that if his arm were not engaged continually in these acts of mercy and generosity, it had no place in his body at all. His viewpoint is totally different from the viewpoint most people have today. This was the standard of righteousness of the patriarchs, too, even before the law of Moses and even before the gospel. God requires us to restore this kind of righteousness in the church by going out of our way to care for widows, orphans, and those with no food, clothing, or shelter.